Fair   32.0F  |  Forecast »
Edit Module

Mentoring Young Men

Non-profit teaches college age males professional development and life skills

Much is said about the disparity of  black males in areas of education. However, not much is done.

As founder and executive director of Minority Males for Higher Education, Edmund Lewis, Jr. works to bridge the gap between talk and action.

In 2010, the U.S. Census estimated the black male population to be 16,759; of that number, 6.3 percent were enrolled in school, as a college undergraduate or graduate. Fifty-three percent had graduated high school, but were not enrolled in school.

“These young men have an opportunity to either decide on going to community college, find a job, or stay in the hood and do nothing,” Lewis says.

Since 2008, his non-profit has provided young men with resources and opportunities for academic success, through mentoring, tutoring, teaching of life skills and professional development.

A firm believer in the first impression, Lewis, 26, even helps participants look the part of a young professional—providing haircuts, suits and neckties. Based in Farmington Hills, the program is available in Detroit-area schools.

Originally from North Carolina, Lewis has seen the cost of wasted potential first hand.

“Most of my best friends, who were great athletes, who were smart students, didn't make it out the hood,” he says. “They didn't have an opportunity to succeed because they let peer influence change their lives and they made a wrong decision.”

Lewis himself didn’t plan on attending college after high school, but now holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan. It’s the lack of exposure of higher education that holds back many African American males, he says.  

“In other cultures, the discussion isn't ‘if’ you're going to college,” he says. “It's ‘where’ you're going to college.”

Lewis encourages the same mentality in his students. He doesn’t accept “‘No, it's not for me’ as an alternative to answer the question,” he says.

Participants of the program have gone on to attend Morehouse College, Oakland University and Michigan State University.

“I tell these young men, ‘This happened to me,’” he says. “’If I can go to college, you can do it, and what can I do to help you?’”

Aug 24, 2012 02:36 pm
 Posted by  Medgar C.

I have known Edmund since he graduated from U of M with his MSW. The work he does is phenomenal in mentoring and training young men of color. He shows them that college is a part of their future. he has recently met with and spoken to the male youths in our Operation: Lamp Light program who attended the William A. McGill Scholarship and Awards Luncheon sponsored by the Detroit Omega Foundation, Inc., and they know when it's time to complete college applications he'll be there for them with his Minority Males For Higher Education program.

Keep up the great work!

Medgar L. Clark
Detroit

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module

More »New Content

Freedom House awarded a full grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Freedom House awarded a full grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development

After being denied funding last month, the Detroit organization was at risk of closing its doors

Your play auntie Maxine Waters is visiting the Wright Museum this month

Your play auntie Maxine Waters is visiting the Wright Museum this month

Waters and the former first lady of Haiti will discuss African American and Haitian progress.

Four Tops' Abdul 'Duke' Fakir just can't stay away from the stage

Four Tops' Abdul 'Duke' Fakir just can't stay away from the stage

While his peers head into retirement, the legendary Motown alum says he doesn't want a life of couch-sitting.

Will Detroit media ever lift black businesses up to the same level as Sister Pie?

Will Detroit media ever lift black businesses up to the same level as Sister Pie?

I really, really don't need to read yet another story about Sister Pie when there are so many other businesses to hear from.